Horses To Keep An Eye (And A Bet) On In 2024

The Breeders’ Cup races have been run, and most of the racing for 2023 has come to an end. The only questions left are those of year-end championships for a handful of categories, and which superstars for this year are going to return for next year.

As we patiently await the moment when the calendar turns, here are some horses you will definitely want to keep tabs- and wagers- on, according to TwinSpires betting guide.

Fierceness

Perhaps the most obvious horse in this category would be Fierceness, the aptly-named winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Fierceness first got the racing world’s attention in a spectacular debut, winning by over 11 lengths at Saratoga in the slop. He was immediately vaulted into graded stakes company, but a poor start in the Grade I Champagne Stakes led to a disappointing seventh-place finish. However, he rebounded in a big way with a 6 ¼ length win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, all but assuring that he will be named Eclipse Champion Two-Year-Old Male.

Fierceness is a son of City of Light, a second-crop sire who is best known for his wins in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and the 2019 Pegasus World Cup, both Grade I. His dam, Nonna Bella, is a daughter of multiple Grade I winner Stay Thirsty, who won at distances up to 10 furlongs- the distance of the Kentucky Derby.

Just F Y I

Fierceness’s female counterpart would be the undefeated Just F Y I, who, like Fierceness, won her debut at Saratoga. Unlike Fierceness, however, Just F Y I had no problem making the transition to graded stakes races, winning the Grade I Frizette Stakes. The third choice in the field of 12 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Just F Y I pressed the pace before taking the lead at the top of the stretch, and fended off a charge from Jody’s Pride to seal her victory and, like Fierceness, her championship.

Just F Y I is a daughter of Justify, who also sired the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, Hard to Justify. Her dam is Star Act, a stakes-placed daughter of Street Cry. With stamina on the top and the bottom of her pedigree, Just F Y I should have no problem handling races as they get longer.

Hoist the Gold

Hoist the Gold has only hit the winners’ circle three times in ten starts this year, but the four-year-old colt appears to be on an upswing if his most recent start, the Grade II Cigar Mile Handicap, is any indication. Under jockey John Velasquez, Hoist the Gold took command from the start and was never seriously challenged, winning by 4 ½ lengths in the Aqueduct slop. This proved that his earlier win in the Grade II Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland was not a fluke, and that Hoist the Gold may make an impact on the dirt sprint/mile division in 2024.

In spite of Hoist the Gold’s seeming preference for shorter distances, he has a good amount of stamina in his pedigree, having A.P. Indy on both the top and bottom of his pedigree. His sire is Mineshaft, the 2003 Horse of the Year, and his damsire is Tapit, the noted sire of multiple Belmont Stakes winners.

Program Trading

A grass horse who looks to make a big leap in 2024 is Program Trading, recent winner of the Grade IT Hollywood Derby. Although lightly raced, the ridgeling has only suffered defeat once in his career, and his stakes debut resulted in a game win over Webslinger in the Grade IT Saratoga Derby. The Hollywood Derby produced a similar result, with Webslinger charging up on Program Trading, but falling short by a neck.

Program Trading is a British-bred son of the Irish stallion Lope de Vega, who stamped himself in the United States as the sire of the talented turf mare Newspaperofrecord. His dam, Dreamlike, is a daughter of the speedy stallion Oasis Dream.

White Abarrio

Trainer Rick Dutrow announced, following White Abarrio’s spectacular win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, that he plans to embark upon a five-year-old campaign for the colt. A Horse of the Year candidate for 2023, White Abarrio has grade I wins in the Classic as well as the Whitney Stakes for 2023, and the Florida Derby in 2022. Although Dutrow did not give specific plans, he noted that the Pegasus World Cup and the $20-million Saudi Cup were both possibilities.

White Abarrio is by far the most accomplished runner sired by Race Day, a Grade II-winning son of Tapit. His dam, Catching Diamonds, never reached the winners’ circle, but she is a daughter of leading sire Into Mischief. However, White Abarrio’s performances in 2023 indicate that he cares little for his supposed pedigree limitations, and prefers to let his own inner class shine through on the racetrack.

Author: Nicholas Griffin